Philipponnat Royale Réserve Brut

It seems preposterous that my favourite Philipponnat cuvée this year should be its bargain-priced entry wine, but such is the refreshing balance of 2008 acidity that it pulls the ripe style of the house into a wonderful place of fine-tuned balance that even its current prestige cuvées fail to emulate. The generosity of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ pinot noir leads out with fleshy peach, baked apple, honey and mixed spice, gliding into a refreshing finish of taut acidity and finely structured mineral expression. This is the best I’ve ever seen this cuvée. $53 at Dan’s.